Ancelotti rates Napoli’s season as a 7/10

Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti has given his side a seven out of 10 for their efforts this season ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash with FC Zurich.

After nearly a decade away from Italy, Ancelotti returned to his homeland last summer to replace the Chelsea-bound Maurizio Sarri at Napoli for this season.

Since then the former Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid coach has gone on to enjoy a respectable start in charge of Napoli with the club currently sitting comfortably in second-place.

But the Partenopei are already 13 points behind runaway leaders Juventus and were knocked out of the Champions League group stages.

“A 7, but I hope to give them a higher grade at the end of the season,” said Ancelotti via Football-Italia, when asked to rate Napoli’s season so far.

After two goalless draws in the Serie A, Napoli will be hoping to get on the scoresheet for Thursday’s return leg against Zurich in their Round of 32 tie.

The Italian club currently holds a 3-1 aggregate lead from last week’s first leg victory in Switzerland.

“The team are playing good football, we have the desire to score more goals and we’re focused on this game, which shouldn’t be underestimated,” Ancelotti said.

“We have a result that comforts us, but I want to avoid surprises. I have nothing to say to the fans who haven’t been turning up.

“Each one of them is entitled to live their life as they want, just as the team are. Those who were there were able to watch a good Napoli performance against Torino.

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“There’ll be some rotation. We used up a lot of energy in the games against Zurich and Torino. Of course, [Vlad] Chiriches will start from the first minute.

“Everyone has the ability to manage these moments of not scoring. It’s how forwards work. There was a time when [Arkadiusz] Milik was better than [Dries] Mertens and vice versa.

“It requires more attention. The problem will be solved without any particular alchemy. We’re only lacking clarity and precision. I expect a few more goals from the midfielders.

“In the last three months of the season we’ll all be under scrutiny and this will have to be motivation for us because that’s when our campaign will be determined.

“We’ve reached a key point of the season so now we need to put in even more effort, especially in the Europa League, where you’re in or out. We want to go all the way.”

The Europa League match between Napoli and Zurich at the San Paolo Stadium will begin at 6:55 PM (CET) on Thursday.